1xBet, the online gaming operator that some say has ties to Russian authorities, is denouncing recent reports that it’s running into financial issues. A news article late last week by the media outlet Josimar asserted that a court in the Netherlands supported the suspension of its license in Curaçao. But the company refutes the article as an attempt to tarnish its reputation.
Gaming operator 1xBet’s booth at a gaming conference. The company denies it has financial troubles as questions over the future of its Curaçao license surface. (Image: 1xBet)
The story claimed that the Netherlands Supreme Court upheld a ruling by a lower court in Curaçao that could possibly force the licensee to close. In a press release from January 25, 1xBet denied the allegation. It asserted that the information from Josimar only wanted to discredit the company.
The company added that it has “encountered no issues” regarding its license in Curaçao. However, the Supreme Court’s publication of the results of a case involving 1xBet there seems to indicate otherwise.
Disputing the Facts
An advocacy group for gambling consumers has reportedly been fighting 1xBet (allegedly trading as 1xCorp in Curaçao) for the past few years. It argues that the operator has illegally withheld money – around €1 million (US$1.09 million) from its users and has sought restitution in court.
The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, as verified by the court’s own documents. In the publication, the court references a “bankruptcy application” and failure to make payments.
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by 1xCorp that would have kept it from having to file for bankruptcy. 1xBet, in its press release, tries to distance itself from 1XCorp.
It argues that it operates through a “franchise model,” indicating that would free it from any responsibility should the allegations against 1xCorp be true. Despite the attempt at deflection, there is still some evidence that the two entities share an intrinsic connection.
The company of reference in Curaçao is 1xCorp N.V., whose director is Ozkan Gun Kazorin, according to Dun & Bradstreet. A cursory search of the name produces virtually no data, although it does result in one link that ties Kazorin to 1xBet founders Sergey Karshkov and Roman Semiokhin.
Those two founded the company along with a third individual, Dmitry Kazorin, who happens to share the same last name as the 1xCorp founder in Curaçao. Based on data from Forebears, this is likely more than just a coincidence. Only around 87 people in Russia have that same last name.
More Evidence Surfaces
1xBet also asserts in its press release that claims that “1xCorp, a Curaçao company, is the ‘owner’ of 1xBet” is false. While the Curaçao company “1xCorp N.V.” isn’t the owner, there is plenty of evidence to show that “1xCorp” (without the “N.V.”) is.
In 2019, there was a case before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It appeared in a WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center hearing between Navasard Limited of Cyprus as the complainant and “Harry Houdini” of Portugal as the respondent.
At the center of the dispute was the domain name 1xbet.soccer, which Houdini allegedly registered. As WIPO presented, there were several indisputable facts – 1xBet belongs to Navasard and Navasard operated a number of 1xBet websites.
More importantly, as WIPO pointed out, “Complainant’s domain names and trademarks are operated by the company 1XCorp. N.V. and a number of other affiliated entities.” 1xBet won that dispute.
Hard to Ignore the Facts
There have been reports that 1xBet is exploiting the popularity of sports betting to funnel money to Russia’s president. This has been alleged by Ukrainian officials and others. But no one has been able to confirm the information.
This week, Ukraine announced that President Vladimir Zelensky would sign an order to impose sanctions on 1xBet. The decree will reportedly approve 15 of the 24 sanctions provided for by law.
Among these are the blocking of all assets of 1xBet companies in Ukraine, the prohibition of withdrawal of capital outside Ukraine, and a restriction on trading operations in the country.
That would seem to provide support of the company’s ties to Russia. The fact that at least one of 1xBet’s founders previously worked for the Russian government is more support.
In addition, there are several brands, including 1xStavka, operating in that country that have allegedly been linked to 1xBet.
1xBet also tries to downplay the reliability of Josimar, a “less visited sports website,” as 1xBet describes it. The platform’s articles are occasionally “filled with factual inaccuracies,” according to 1xBet. It asserts the same about Josimar’s coverage of the Curaçao story.
However, Josimar wasn’t the primary source of the information. It was the Curaçao Chronicle.
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